The herbs are used fresh, unlike the officinal tinctures which are obtained from grass which has already undergone the drying process and which, therefore, has already lost a part of its properties. Attention must be paid to the terminology: Mother Tincture is a definition applied to different types of extract, depending on the country of origin. In France, for example, the mother tincture is obtained using a hydroalcoholic solution, used for the maceration process, as a solvent, while in other countries, the herbs are squeezed and the extract is only subsequently put in alcohol for storage. The hydroalcoholic solution as a solvent for maceration facilitates the maceration of herbs, thanks to the moisturizing effect of water on the fibers, but at the same time reduces the antibacterial and antifungal effect of alcohol. For this reason, this preparation should not undergo a maceration time of more than two weeks and should always be kept with an addition of alcohol.
The tincture is particularly effective using mixtures of medicinal herbs, in particular those that have a fibrous or woody origin, or come from roots and resins. Since this method ensures that herbs and their nutrients can be stored for a long period of time, it is often used as the primary method for storing.
In addition, herbalists are very fond of tinctures also for other reasons, such as being easy to transport, their usefulness in long-term treatments, and their ability to be absorbed quickly, as well as allowing customization of the dosage in a very simple.
Taken orally, the tincture is bitter and requires the addition of sweeteners such as honey or sugar to tolerate its flavor. Another advantage of the dyes, compared, for example, to the extracts, is the low processing temperature which allows the dye to keep the volatile elements.
Tincture obtained by alcoholic maceration
Procedure for making a tincture obtained by alcoholic maceration (without adding water).
-Buy quality alcohol; the best home solution is to use good vodka, because it is colorless, fairly odorless and tasteless. If vodka is not available, cognac, rum, whiskey can be used. Whatever alcohol is chosen, it must be 80 ° alcohol (that is, 40% alcohol) to prevent the plant material from becoming a moldy mush.
-The container for dyeing must be made of glass or ceramic. Avoid the use of metal or plastic containers, because these can react with the dye or contain dangerous chemicals that percolate over time. Containers such as a Quattrostagioni vase, a glass bottle with an airtight cap are ideal for macerating a dye. Furthermore, it is necessary to get some small dark glass bottles to store the dye once it is finished; these bottles must have a narrow neck and a resealable lid with seal, to prevent air intrusion during storage and be easy to use. Make sure all containers are washed and sterilized before use. To sterilize them, simply follow the can sterilization method used for preserving jams; the containers are boiled for twenty minutes in a pot of water and cooled upside down, letting the steam out every ten minutes.
-You can prepare a mother tincture using precise measurements, but you can also adjust it "on sight", depending on how you feel more comfortable. Some tips for keeping the proportions of herbs in the order of fresh, powdered, or dried are as follows:
Add enough chopped herbs that are sufficient to fill the glass container. Cover with alcohol.
Add 100 g of powdered herbs with half a liter of alcohol
Add 200 g of dry herb to 1 liter of alcohol
Once the ingredients are poured into the glass jar, a small butter knife or a small spatula for sweets must be used to gently mix and break any air bubbles that may have remained inside.
Then seal the container, put in a cool dark place, such as a closet or shelf. The container must remain at rest for up to a month.
Shake the container regularly, even twice a day, to mix the solvent with the herbs. Be sure to label the maceration tincture so you know what it is and the date it was macerated. Obviously keep out of the reach of children and pets!